Winter is here! Whether you’re big on the season or not, there’s no escaping it. Winter means the holidays, seeing family, and ringing in a new year. Unfortunately, this time might not bring you warm and fuzzy memories. For those affected by seasonal depression, the wintertime doesn’t lift the spirit like it should.
According to Mental Health America, seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), affects about 5% of Americans every year. It might not sound like much, but that’s about 16.6 million people. If you’re part of this statistic, then you know it can be hard to stay upbeat during the winter.
Unfortunately, there’s no 100% cure to any kind of depression. But there are tips and tricks to help ease the symptoms. Here are some easy ways to help lessen your winter blues.
This is probably the most straightforward solution, but not one to be overlooked. It’s important to take care of yourself and make sure you’re getting the help you need. The best way to do this when struggling with SAD is by getting mental health treatment, whether that’s starting therapy or antidepressants.
Don’t fall into the stigma surrounding mental health — one of the best things you can do for yourself is seek help. You’ll learn new ways to relax and calm your mind in the middle of what feels like a snowstorm in your brain. This can be essential to managing your own stress and feelings during a hectic time.
Professionals work with you to cater to your needs. Mental health treatments are never a one-size-fits-all solution, so the more personalized, the better. Everyone is different, so make sure you’re finding a good fit that makes you feel good in your own skin.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
The holidays are supposed to be about spending time with family and friends. Use this season to your advantage and surround yourself with people who are there for you. Having a support system during a difficult time is essential to championing your mental health. This could be family or friends, depending on who you feel most close to.
Remember that you don’t have to put up with toxic people, even if they’re family. You have every right to guard your mental health from people who are harmful to it. Putting your mental wellbeing first is an important step in your mental health journey.
Do More of What You Enjoy
Take advantage of any holiday time off and get back into your hobbies. Many times, people can get too focused on work, family, or school. As a result, there’s little to no time left for unwinding and doing the activities you enjoy.
Try making some time for getting back into those hobbies. Whether it’s crafting, karaoke, or going out to eat, make sure you’re having some fun. Get together with friends, play some board games, have a charcuterie board party. Do whatever will make you happier during this time. Plus, occupying yourself with enjoyable activities can help keep negative thoughts at bay.
Additionally, you could always try picking up a new hobby. The experience of learning how to do something new can be a great distraction for times when your mind is cruel. Sometimes a little change can make a big difference. Plus, it’ll be something new to look forward to.
Try Some Fun Winter Activities
One way to improve your holiday spirit is by having some winter fun. The winter season brings some particular activities that you might not have access to year-round. Ice skating, hot cocoa drinking, and making snowmen are just a few ideas.
Sometimes ‘faking it until you make it’ really works. If you have a negative connotation with winter activities because of SAD, try to view them in a different light. These activities are supposed to be fun and enjoyed with loved ones. Try to reclaim the holidays and empower yourself by having some fun during this season.
Begin Journaling Regularly
Part of taking care of yourself mentally is acknowledging your true feelings. Journaling is a great method for getting your thoughts out without the pressure of saying them out loud. If you’re a bit shy when it comes to expressing yourself, this is a great tool for you.
Journaling can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Some people choose to only write one line a day. While others make journaling a craft-like hobby by using fancy stationery, stickers, or graphs. Going into more detail, like color-coordinating based on emotions, can help you channel positive energy. This type of journaling could even be a new hobby for you.
This activity is great for those who want to put some more focus into identifying triggers and emotions. Journaling can help you realize how you really feel about things in life. And, if you don’t want a paper trail, some people burn their writings after they’re done. This can be a symbolic way of getting rid of your negative thoughts too.
Go Easy on Yourself
The winter can feel pretty hectic sometimes. The holiday season, end-of-year deadlines, and visiting family can feel like a lot. Maybe the weather causes you to be stuck in your house for a while too. This season has some negatives, for sure, but don’t forget about the positives.
Remember that it takes time to heal. That means you need to set aside time to work on yourself. Use time off to your advantage and give yourself moments to relax and enjoy yourself. Your mental health journey might not be a walk in the park, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.